New Merced County judge is feeling lucky

mnorth@mercedsunstar.comJanuary 19, 2013 

There's a new judge on the bench of the Merced County Superior Court, but he's no stranger to the local legal system.

Judge Harry Jacobs, 67, was sworn into his post by presiding Judge Brian McCabe on Friday afternoon in the Merced County Board of Supervisors chamber.

Addressing those at the ceremony, Jacobs borrowed a quote from famous baseball player Lou Gehrig, explaining that he considers himself "the luckiest man on the face of the Earth."

Not only was he appointed to the judgeship by Gov. Jerry Brown late last month, he remarried in September.

"Just when I thought that I couldn't get any luckier, just today when I checked my mail there was a big envelope in it and it said that I have been placed on the winner's selection list of Publishers Clearing House," Jacobs joked.

But putting all luck aside, when it comes to his good fortune, Jacobs did give thanks and credit to those who supported him as he vied for the position.

After he was appointed to the spot, McCabe said Jacobs' vast legal knowledge and familiarity with various types of cases makes him a great fit for the position.

McCabe also said he intends to assign Jacobs to Los Banos for his first two years as a judge.

Jacobs, a Democrat, grew up in Las Vegas and got his bachelor's degree from the University of San Francisco. He served four years of active duty in the Air Force before going to law school at Lincoln University in San Francisco, as well as its branch in San Jose.

He practiced law privately for nine years in Gustine before getting a job as a deputy public defender with Merced County. Jacobs served in that role from 1989 to 2000.

After working as a commissioner in the Merced County Superior Court from 2000 to 2011, Jacobs retired, and the position was converted into a judgeship.

Commissioners are used interchangeably with judges in the Merced County Superior Court.

Jacobs has three children and three grandchildren. He plays the bass in a jazz band, goes ocean kayaking and lives in Merced. He's been in Merced County since 1978.

His pay as a judge will be $178,789 a year, according to the governor's office.

Reporter Mike North can be reached at (209) 385-2453 or mnorth@mercedsunstar.com.

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